Landscaping tips that’ll help you (and your home) stay cool

We know you’re already used to receiving tons of our DIY project ideas to make your home more energy efficient by updating its interior. But, this month, we’re going outside: We’ve got a few landscaping tips for adding shade around your house and keeping you cool and comfortable through the hot summer months.

Thoughtful landscaping is about more than a beautiful yard—although that’s certainly a bonus.  It’s also a smart and efficient way to cool your home during the intense summer heat.  With a little creativity & strategy, a beautiful yard can keep things a little cooler inside. With that in mind, here are some things to consider the next time you’re landscaping:

Where to Plant Your Trees

Most people know that planting a tree to shade your house is a great way to keep it cool. But, don’t just plant them on the south side of your home where their leaves will provide shade.  Consider planting them on the east and west sides of your home as well to block early and late-day sun.

It’s also important to consider the location of your foundation, water lines, and power lines before planting a tree. Will the tree interfere with power lines when it reaches maturity? Will the roots interfere with water lines or your foundation when they spread? These are all important variables to consider.  

Choose a Dense Canopy

The shape and density of a tree’s canopy determines its shade value and potential energy savings. A fast-growing tree offers shade in less time, but it will probably prove less hardy than a tree that grows slower. Consider planting trees that produce a dense canopy with multi-directional branches. Shorter trees work well on the east and west sides of the house to cast shadows over windows, and taller trees work well on the south. Tall, mature trees with broad canopies are great.

Where to Plant Shrubs

Shorter trees or tall shrubs are ideal for the west side of your home. These will help deflect late afternoon sun. Is your air conditioner currently exposed to the hot summer sun? Locating plants that can shade the outdoor unit can help hide an unsightly part of your home, as well as offer additional protection from the sun. Be sure there is still plenty of air flow around the outdoor unit.

Keep it Native

When deciding which plants to grow, it’s important to consider planting trees and other plants that are native to your area because they are best for soil and weather conditions there. This will minimize the time you spend watering and giving extra attention to the beautiful, new addition to your yard. Look up your state’s local wildlife foundation—they will have plenty of tips and resources for growing and nurturing native plants.

Call Before You Dig

Identifying all underground utility lines is essential before any landscaping project. Stay safe and avoid a major headache by contacting your local electric cooperative before blindly digging in the back yard. Not sure about who to call? Call811 will keep you safe and away from your utility lines.

Looking for more tips on how to reduce your energy use this summer? Your local Energy Advisor can help. Contact us today.